The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
‘I will miss my dad and brother so much’
The Stafford man piloting the plane that crashed over the weekend at Shannon Airport is listed by the Federal Aviation Administration as a commercial pilot and airplane mechanic.
Other details about John Morton Jr. weren’t available Monday, but students at two Stafford schools were dealing with the death of his son, Kyle, who was an eighth-grader at Dixon-Smith Middle School.
Two Facebook pages also have been created to honor Kyle and his father.
On one, Adriane Morton posted a thank you and added: “I will miss my dad and brother so much.”
The 13-year-old boy and his father died Saturday when the single-engine Cessna 150M plane they were in plummeted and crashed in the River Heights mobile home park near the airport.
On Monday, the school system sent crisis prevention teams to Dixon-Smith and Stafford High School, which Kyle’s sister attends, according to Valerie Cottongim, school system spokeswoman.
The team, composed of guidance counselors, psychologists and other school system employees trained in crises, set up a safe room at the schools so students and staff could talk about any issues they were having.
Homeroom teachers told students at the schools about the deaths and Dixon-Smith sent a letter home to parents, Cottongim said.
Another part of the crisis response allows students to write notes to the family.
The plane crashed shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday while John Morton was conducting take-offs and landings, according to the Virginia State Police, who also reported that Morton had been working on the plane.
Robert Stanley, the airport’s operations manager, gave a different version, telling the FLS that the crash happened on the first takeoff.
Witnesses in River Heights told The Free Lance-Star that they saw the plane climb sharply before it went into a nosedive that sent the plane crashing into the ground near a house and van at the end of Carrie Court.
The state police, Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. There were no new details available Monday, but the NTSB will release its preliminary report within 10 days.
Morton did not own the plane, but Stanley told the FLS that Morton had a deal with the owner to use the plane. Donald Hockaday, of Woodford, is listed as the plane’s owner. He did not respond to phone messages.
On Monday, Stanley said John Morton didn’t fly out of the airport much and that he didn’t know the man or his son. But he noted that he has heard good things from others at the airport about Kyle Morton.
“Everything I’ve heard is he was a nice young man with manners,” he said.